Two Old-School Skill Sets to Seek
On the road to hiring today's and tomorrow's top communicators, two old-school skills sets are still relevant:
- Writing skills: Check out my 20 writing tests from tweets to talks for the formats candidates should be able to handle.
- Core communications skills: From transferable knowledge to work ethic, the Altitude blog offers what anyone seeking a social media job needs to show to earn her stripes.
What Tomorrow's Hire Needs
I want a communications hire to show me he's flexible, thoughtful and plugged in to new tactics and technology. Here are four ways savvy candidates can show employers and recruiters what they know:
- A complete set of online profiles. Online profiles--on Google, Twitter, Facebook, your blog and LinkedIn, at a minimum--need to be complete reflections of a candidate's career. I look for social media interests and skills, and training that shows learning about new tools and technologies. Status updates will emphasize what she's paying attention to on a daily basis. If you're tempted to skip adding details to your online profile, read this interview with 2 PR recruiters, who note that, until you are a candidate of interest, it's your online profile or CV they're looking at, and nothing else.
- A blog that shows the candidate's knowledge and thought process. A blog's the easiest way to show what you know and how you think. I'd be most interested in what a candidate's thinking about, and what he's curating on his blog: what he's reading in social media, case studies he finds useful, and what he's exploring now. No blog? Make it easy on yourself and set one up on Posterous -- all you have to do is send them an email with your content (text, photos, whatever), and they'll generate your post.
- Indicators of how the candidate's changing her approaches. Media relations used to be a core skill, the kind that made a difference in hires and around which entire jobs were created. With a dwindling press corps, fewer media outlets and more Americans now getting their news elsewhere, I'd be looking for a candidate who describes (in her online profiles, resume and blog) how she's handling media relations differently today--or what she's doing instead. It makes a good interview question: How would the candidate remake this part of the communications universe? Check out my posts on letting social media clean up your PR act, rebooting your communications events, and 6 ways to change your timing on media pitches for ideas.
- A visible presence. I'd also be looking for online video if the candidate will need to speak before internal or external groups, do presentations for your operation, give a speech or sit on a panel discussion. If she's been a frequent speaker, I'd like to hear some excerpts from audience feedback forms--those would tell me how she connects with a live audience.
|It's a communications operation poised at the crossroads, ready for change and flexible, with the same high standards you've always had. This post from the don't get caught blog spells it out, noting that recruiting audiences, ensuring data quality, optimizing your offerings for searches, non-traditional marketing, and expanding to related products or services (like conferences) are the tasks most needed now. Read it for tips on how to lead your office toward this new way of working.